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  1. #1

    Default Wind River High Route - Skurka version

    Hello All,

    Iím looking for a partner, or perhaps a small group, to attempt the Andrew Skurka-version Wind River High Route starting in late August / possibly extending in to September. Ideally, Iíd like to find someone already planning to do this or with the wherewithal to do this solo but who simply wants a partner for safety (thatís my situation and mindset). Here is the ďaboutĒ page from Skurkaís website: https://andrewskurka.com/adventures/...er-high-route/

    This will likely be the most difficult trip Iíve ever done with 65 miles off-trail ( 97 miles total) and over 30,000 vertical feet of climbing (but I expect, also the most rewarding). I estimate 10 days on-trail with no resupply, but given the nature of this endeavor it could go shorter (likely in the case of a bail-out) or longer (for various reasons). My dates arenít set yet, I can adjust if needed, but Iíd rather not risk early-season snow by starting too late. If youíve already planned to do this then you know this wonít be a blissful, mindless, mile-crunching hike: it will have some stress about it with constant route-finding, navigation checks, weather watching, speed and distance calculations, etcÖ Iím also ready to fail and bail if needed. After all, it is a recreational outing and not do or die. 😊

    This seems weird to post this much about myself but it's relevant in the context of a meet-up for this adventure: Iím 46 years old, and an avid backpacker; Iíve done over 8000 miles of backpacking in the last decade. I work full time but go out almost every weekend (44 trips last year out of 52 weeks). For the last 6 years, Iíve averaged about 1000 miles of backpacking per year. The majority of my experience is on-trail but over the last few years Iíve been doing solo off-trail trips in the Southern Appalachians. These types of trips often involve following old, overgrown, and faded routes (known as ďmanwaysĒ locally) or using creeks as hand rails and hiking in the creek while climbing falls and cascades, or bush-whacking through heinous rhododendron (my least favorite).

    I live in East Tennessee and so the southern apps are my goto, but I usually go out to the western US about once a year to backpack in some new area or mountain range. Here are some of the places Iíve trekked: Sierra out of Mineral King, Grand Canyon (Rim to Rim to Rim), Grand Teton National Park , Four Passes Loop in the Elk Mountains of Colorado (Maroon Bells), Glacier National Park Montana, Weminiche Wilderness , CO .

    If you want to peruse for more here are about 100 trip reports on Trailspace.com (the older ones have broken picture links). I wa recently a Reviwer of the Month at Trailspace and they did a little write-up. I bagged my first western peak about 6 years ago in the Sierra (Sawtooth Peak 12,343) and have since done five fourteeners in CO: Snowmass, Sunlight, Windom, Eolus, North Eolus. Iíve done occasional class 4 moves but never with a full pack. Iím not a rock climber or mountaineer and will choose my routes accordingly.


    As far as navigational skills, Iíve done years of terrain association with topo maps, Iím proficient with dead reckoning (determining distance based on rate and speed), and Iíve done quite a bit of route-finding in my home terrain. I know compass basics as far as transferring bearings from the map to the field and vice versa as well as how to triangulate but have not used these skills extensively. Iíve been practicing for this trip though.

    If you are interested please reply back to this thread and /or send a private message to discuss more details.

    Happy Trails!

    patrick

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I can only dream and wish.
    Good luck!
    Wayne

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    I surmise this will be your most strenuous hike ever. Not many "outs" either. I'd start first wk of Sept with your timeframe. Definitely get Skurka's WRHR mapset. SHR has more "outs." I may be going out to do a Sierra 230 mile hike starting first wk of Sept with the WRHR a part of it. It will be an extension of the L2H Route. It's not definite as work and personal life currently have me swamped. I'll be doing more than 10 a day though.

  4. #4

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    Thanks Wayne, I need all the luck I can get!

    Dogwood,

    Well I guess you never know till you go, but yeah, I don't think I've done that much up and down in that few miles before. What is your reasoning for advising a September start? My concern is that a big snow will wreck the trip on that terrain.

    Sure enough, I bought the mapset/ guidebook some time ago and have been studying the route for a couple months now. Also bought the Earthwalk Press maps and a digital version of Kelsey's guidebook which had some really interesting chapters.

    I'm not really sure how much daily mileage I'll do out there but for planning purposes I'm estimating conservatively. Since there is no marked line of travel for most of it, I may very well make some bad choices along the way and have to backtrack or reroute around an obstacle, etc...

  5. #5
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I will cast a vote for late August and early September. Lack of rain. Lack of insects. Get to the trailhead ahead of the Labor Day rush and finish after the rush. We were there last year in the southern end of the Range and it was lovely.
    Can it snow? Sure. Any day of the year. Will early September snow stick around? Probably not.
    Didnít Skurka mention making 3 mistakes? Donít do that. 👍😄
    Have you looked at Adventure Alanís Wind River Route?
    http://www.adventurealan.com/wind-ri...h-route-guide/
    In case you need a place to escape nasty weather. The Big Sandy Lodge.
    http://www.big-sandy-lodge.com
    All the best to you!
    Wayne

  6. #6

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    Wayne,

    yes the Alan Dixon route is still on the table. Skurkas route is harder but seems more interesting with more highlights.

  7. #7
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Go for it!
    Worst case: Drop down and follow the CDT/Fremont Trail. There are no bad days in the WWR. Heck, there are no bad days in Wyoming.
    Wayne

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    PatmanTN I am interested in this route!

  9. #9

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    notbad,

    Right-on! I sent you a private message with my e-mail address in it. I had low hopes that I would get any responses on this at all.

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    My bad. I was referring to Skurka's Kings Canyon High Basin Traverse. Cooler weather beginning early first wk of Sept. Makes for better strenuous hiking. I surmise the risk for heavy snowfall to be low risk with your 10 day timeframe.

  11. #11

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    Notbad, you could do our trip then meet the OP and do the High Route too...be a mega Wind River trip and really make the trip worth it

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    I like the way you think DE. One trip is in Cali - the Sierras - and the other WY.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I like the way you think DE. One trip is in Cali - the Sierras - and the other WY.
    It is the Wind River High Route, not the Sierra or Kings Canyon High Route. Both trips are in the Winds.

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    Dixon and Skurka had different WRR high routes as well as several others. I was initially confused and referring to Skurka's High Basin Sierra route.


    I dont think I'd do both their routes on one trip. I'd choose my own route pieced together from various documented routes as well as some of my own. I very much do like what Andrew did though. Some of D and S routes I did already do as a CDT WRR alternate.

  15. #15

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    lol, I believe the Skurka WRHR will be as "mega" as most would want! per Skurka:


    • It averages 620 vertical feet of change (up and/or down) per mile, compared to 420 ft/mi for the Appalachian Trail, 375 for the John Muir Trail, 310 for the Pacific Crest Trail, and 300 for the Continental Divide Trail.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    lol, I believe the Skurka WRHR will be as "mega" as most would want! per Skurka:


    • It averages 620 vertical feet of change (up and/or down) per mile, compared to 420 ft/mi for the Appalachian Trail, 375 for the John Muir Trail, 310 for the Pacific Crest Trail, and 300 for the Continental Divide Trail.
    You don't know notbad like I do....the man is a machine when hiking. Our loop route in the north would be a 70 mile warm-up for him.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    You don't know notbad like I do....the man is a machine when hiking. Our loop route in the north would be a 70 mile warm-up for him.
    oh wow ok, that's really good to know and just the kind of person I was looking for!

  18. #18
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Put half of your gear in his pack. That might even things out.
    Oh. Bad idea. His pack is tiny. And weightless. Grinning!
    SUL gear aside, heís a good guy!
    Standing by for the Trip Report and lots of photos!
    Wayne

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    My ears were ringing....and than I find this!.... All half truths and exaggerations I assure you all...although very kind!... especially the good guy part,,��If the stars align and the spirits of Western Wyoming allow! Driving home from work I'll be reaching out to CJ and Pat in a more private setting tonight when I am home!...Too funny.....signing off with new trail name ...notbad and not as good as described!... Hope all is well Wayne!... Can't imagine it down in the East Texas rainforest right now...it's hot here in the north pole....

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    Winking emojis failed to register

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